Clean Your Ceiling Fan In SECONDS!

We decided to put up our Christmas tree and decorations yesterday…but before I could start…I had to clean.  The thought of putting up decorations on top of dirty, dusty surfaces is icky. (Am I alone in this?)

One particularly onerous cleaning chore I had to tackle (that I had put off for FAR too long) was the ceiling fans. :-(

I don’t know why I am such a procrastinator when it comes to those fans…but I am.  Maybe because it involves dragging out the ladder or maybe it’s because no one really looks up there (yeah right! wishful thinking.)  But alas, I HAVE procrastinated and they were in pretty sad shape.

As crazy as it sounds though…I was actually kind of excited to clean them this particular time because of a super secret ceiling fancleaning method I had discovered that may have just changed my life forever!

Here is the secret…..but you have to promise not to tell ANYONE!  This is just between you and me!

This is what you do:
Slide blades, one at a time, into a pillowcase and wipe! All the dusty gunk stays inside!
Then shake out the case outside and throw it in the wash!
Tada! Incredible, right?  Remember, it’s our little secret.

Of course I jest!  This picture has been posted and reposted so many times on Pinterest I’ve lost count. It is apparently a very POPULAR idea! A very popular BRILLIANT idea! A very popular brilliant idea that WORKS! (And those are the very best kind!)

Here is how it worked at my house: 
(Once again I must ask you to not judge me too harshly since I am only showing you my NASTY ceiling fans in the name of household science.)

(One good thing about the fans being SO dirty is that it makes the BEFORE and AFTER pictures more dramatic!)  ;-)

This literally took seconds to do each blade! Total time for 5 blades…LESS than 5 minutes total!  So basically I had been putting off for MONTHS what it took LESS THAN 5 minutes to do!

Lesson learned. Ceiling fans clean!


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  1. Kathy in STL says

    Thanks so much for this suggestion! My husband was changing the lightbulbs the other day and I said, "Wait! I have a new way to clean the blades!" He did it in like 5 minutes tops and was WAY less messy than previous attempts. Keep up the great work!

  2. Anonymous says

    Oh, I wish I had found this 2 weeks ago! My arm killed me the day after I spent over an hour cleaning all the fans in my house! You better believe I'm gonna remember this in the future!

  3. says

    This post is very funny, because it is so me. Mine stay gunked up, but my theory is that as long as the fans are moving, no one will notice, so they stay on all the time. LOL. Thanks for the super duper secret pillow case idea. If I ever get around to cleaning the blades, I’ll use it. :-)

  4. Tea says

    This is a “FAN”-tastic idea (sorry, I couldn’t resist)! I just did all 3 fans in the house in 5 minutes flat! Posted BEFORE and AFTER’s on my Facebook so all my family and friends would see how awesome it works! Used the following disclaimer on the BEFORE pics:

    Don’t judge. If yours haven’t looked like this you either have too much time on your hands (get a hobby) or you spend too much time cleaning and not enough time enjoying life.

    Great blog! Keep those ideas coming and thanks so much for sharing!!

    • Shan says

      I don’t think that having a clean house means you have too much time or don’t enjoy life. My house is clean and I have a routine that tackles everything part of my house that I go through every month. I am blessed to have what I do so I take care of the things I have…house included. I still find time to read, bake lots, knit, play with my kids, mentor a friend, have weekly coffee dates with friends and weekly dates with my husband. Time management is key.

      Love the pillow case idea and will try it Oct 29th when it is time to clean the ceiling fans.

  5. Jil says

    I literally just read this and got up and cleaned 2 fans in my house in like 8 minutes! Thanks to this method, I’ll actually stop putting off cleaning my fans since it’s not near the pain in the butt that it used to be. THANKS SO MUCH!!

  6. Marilyn Poirier says

    I have been cleaning all day just stopped for a few minutes to check out Pinterest and there was my answer to cleaning them ceiling fans (something that I hate to do) but I am going to do them now. Just wish I had known this quite a few years back. Thanks so much for sharing.

  7. Amy Sandusky says

    I leave my fans running too…what people can’t see won’t disturb them! Now, I don’t really have an excuse NOT to clean the filthy things. Shhh! I’m not telling the hubby…so I can do this, then have him bring dinner home because I’m just too wiped out to cook, Ha!

  8. Grace says

    Hi Jillee,
    I must say I love your personality and I love your tips so much! We just bought a beautiful home and I need as many ways possible to save money keeping it clean. I’ve been reading and jotting ingredients down for several hours already (shhhh don’t tell my boss!) ;)
    Thank you so much for sharing your tips and the results, just love it! =D

  9. Holly says

    Wow… I was going to clean my fan today but didn’t have any paper towels. (It was going to be such a dirty job… didn’t want to use up all my cleaning towels. and I knew that dust and dirt was going to fly!) Now, I just will use my old pillowcases…. who woulda’ thunk?

  10. brandi says

    Good idea! I just cleaned mine yesterday using the hose with the brush attachmenton my vacuum. It worked great (no dust flying everywhere!) but this would be soo much faster! Good to know for next time I venture up to the fans!

  11. Betty Nickles says

    Thank you so much. Having a child with asthma has always made me put this job off as long as I can. Now I want have to worry about the dust falling into the air again to cause breathing problems.

  12. Karen says

    I will have to give this try… will still require more than a stepstool to get at them though. I’m not that tall to reach with the stepstool, hope I can get at them with the 3 step stepladder.

  13. AJ says

    Great idea! Most of my fans are accessible on a step-stool… but there is one REALLY high up one in my living room ceiling… I don’t know how to reach it. It is by far the dirtiest (since it’s so hard to reach), and currently I’m afraid to turn it on so the dust doesn’t go spewing all around my house…. ??? would love ideas on this (besides hauling in a very tall ladder…)

  14. says

    Now that summer’s over and our ceiling fans have been turned off, we can see the embarrassing dust that catches on the blades. (everyone has dust – no need to be embarrassed!) I’m going to have to try this idea after I search for a pillowcase that I don’t mind filling with dust. Let’s face it, even if it does get shaken out and put through the wash, I still don’t want that near my face after I’ve dusted four ceiling fans with it. This is a great idea – it sure beats using a dust rag and having chunks of dust fall on me. :)

  15. Landon says

    Will be doing this when I clean up next week! Great idea, Jill. You’ve got the bestest smarticles on the block!

    My plan is to use my son’s old flannel pillow case so the fabric has a little extra texture to clean with than a cotton pillowcase & will be something for some dryer sheets to stick to. Since I don’t use them in the dryer this will be perfect! I’ve also heard that you can rub dryer sheets over your blinds to help repel dust when you clean them. =)

  16. Nadine in Nevada says

    We – and by we I mean my husband – used this idea this weekend. He was getting ready to clean the fans and I told him about this idea. He kind of laughed but tried it anyway. WOW! The fans were clean in no time at all and there wasn’t dust flying everywhere. Hint: Before he started he turned the pillowcase inside out and sprayed it with furniture polish. Then he turned it right-side out and Wah-La! Clean fans.

  17. maria teresa donovan says

    Awesome, but how do you get the pillow there and how do you wipe it? sorry, I feel dumb, but I don’t get it yet… can you explain it please? Again, don’t judge people, I already feel dumb ;)

    • says

      Don’t feel dumb maria :) I just used a ladder so that I could reach the fan blades. Then you wrap the pillowcase around the blade and use the inside of the case to wipe the blade. That way all of the dirt gets trapped inside.

  18. Cheryl says

    OMGosh…. Thank you so much for this idea… I also cleaned ceiling around the fan, the metal parts of the fan and in/outside of the bowl for the light… Even my light shines brighter now… Cleaned 3 of the 4 fans in my house, only because fan number 4 is in the spare room and there is to much clutter of my moms in the way, but as soon as she cleans it out I will get it.

  19. SS Abdullah says

    This is for sure a FAN-tastic idea…..
    Thnx for sharing ur secret ;-)
    im laughing tht many thinks as of me. I too say it to myself tht nobody notice it if I turn it ON (its just a way out to satisfy ur laziness …
    I ve cleaned my 3 fans few weeks bck but 1 is still left :-) yea-yea. I ll try it today. Thank God ive some extra pillow cases in hand :-D

  20. harry manian says

    I simply unscrew the 2 screws holding the blades (they come off real easy), take all 5 blades to the porch with a bucket of soapy water and voila!…….super clean. Coat with kitchen wax and reinstall.

    Mr. Clean

  21. Lex says

    I just recently moved to Arizona & have never lived in a house w/ ceiling fans before. I absolutely love having them but between the insane amount of dust in my house & the constant need to have them on, either to cool the house down or push the heat away from the ceiling, the ridiculous gray caterpillars lining the blades have got to go!! When i saw that one of your posts came up in my Google search, it was the only one I clicked on because your posts have never let me down & once again, you saved the day, my family’s respiratory systems, & most importantly my sanity! Thanks! :)


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